NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2022

A look at Daily Faceoff’s top offseason trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Alex DeBrincat tops Frank Seravalli’s list of this summer’s top-25 trade targets. He considers it a question of “when”, not “if” the Chicago Blackhawks trade the 24-year-old left winger. Seravalli believes he’d be their best trade chip to stockpile futures for their rebuilding process. It will also cost them $9 million to qualify his rights at the end of next season.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis believes Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson could seek a return comparable to the two first-round picks and two NHL players he got from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Brandon Hagel. A high first-round pick and/or an A-level prospect would have to be a priority. He suggested the New Jersey Devils could be worth watching as they’re willing to part with their first-round pick (second overall) in this year’s draft.

Whoever pursues DeBrincat must be prepared to pony up big bucks to re-sign him after next season. He’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll also be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and the Devils’ second-overall draft pick sit Nos. 2 through 5 on Seravalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala, Chychrun and Miller have been fixtures in this year’s rumor mill. Seravalli thinks Fiala could be a good fit with the Devils alongside Swiss countryman Nico Hischier. The Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders have also been linked to Fiala.

The Coyotes’ expensive asking price for Chychrun remains a sticking point. The Canucks are expected to try and sign Miller to a contract extension this summer but could end up shopping him if that’s not possible.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie, Devils forward Pavel Zacha and Nashville Predators defenseman Philippe Myers come in at Nos. 6 through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo enjoyed a bounce-back performance this season but the Hurricanes might end up shopping him if they can’t re-sign him. Seravalli said Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek quietly floated Gibson’s name before the trade deadline. However, his contract could be difficult to move. He carries a $6.4 million annual salary cap hit through 2026-27 with a 10-team no-trade clause.

Barrie could be shopped by the Oilers to free up cap room for other moves. Seravalli suggests Zacha, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, could be used as a trade chip by the Devils to bring in help elsewhere in their lineup. He also thinks Myers could be useful for a cap-strapped team to acquire and buy out because of the way his deal is backloaded.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry, Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner John Marino, Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Vegas Golden Knights winger Evgenii Dadonov and either Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto come in at Nos. 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Canadiens tried to fulfill Petry’s trade request before the trade deadline and could shop him this summer to free up cap room. Seravalli suggested he could be a solid backup plan for the Penguins if Kris Letang departs via free agency. He’s also been linked to the Dallas Stars. However, the three years left on his deal at $6.25 million could be a stumbling block.

Marino, Varlamov and Dadonov would also be cost-cutting trade candidates. There’s speculation the Canucks could be interested in Marino. Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade clause could complicate attempts to move him. The Golden Knights unsuccessfully attempted to move Dadonov before the trade deadline. They will likely try again this summer.

Seravalli believes the Oilers’ limited cap space could force GM Ken Holland to choose between Puljujarvi and Yamamoto. Both are restricted free agents with arbitration rights.

Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy, Canucks forwards Tanner Pearson and Jason Dickinson, Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina, and the contracts of Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom and Canadiens blueliner Shea Weber are shoehorned into Nos. 16 through 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers need to free up cap space and Hornqvist has only a year left on his contract. Seravalli believes GM Bill Zito will be able to find a taker for the veteran forward as he did with Anton Stralman and Brett Connolly last season.

Seravalli doesn’t see any push by the Kraken to move Soucy but could listen to offers if they won’t re-sign him after next season. Pearson and Dickinson would be salary-dumping moves by the Canucks. Zadina might need a fresh start after struggling with the Red Wings.

Klefbom and Weber are on permanent long-term injury reserve. Seravalli points out that the Oilers and Canadiens would like to move those contracts as having them on LTIR prevents them from accruing cap space during the season.

There’s an assumption the Canadiens will try again to peddle Weber’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes after a rumored deal fell apart before the trade deadline. He carries a $7.857 million annual cap hit for four more seasons but will be paid just $6 million total in actual salary over that period.

Montreal Hockey Now’s Marco D’Amico explains that would allow the Coyotes’ ownership to save millions in payroll, especially as they’ll be playing in a tiny university arena over the next three or four years while awaiting construction of their new arena. However, they could insist on draft picks in the 2023 and 2025 drafts be included in the deal if they’re still willing to take on Weber’s contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl, Hurricanes blueliner Ethan Bear, Canadiens winger Josh Anderson and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele round up the remainder of the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like so many on this list, Holl would be moved in an effort to trim payroll. Bear, meanwhile, fell out of favor in Carolina and was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. I don’t see the Canadiens shopping Anderson though it wouldn’t hurt the rebuilding club to at least listen to trade offers.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff last week indicated he expected Scheifele to be back next season. Seravalli acknowledged moving him probably isn’t high on Cheveldayoff’s list and considers it difficult for the Jets to get equal value in return.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2022

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff expects Mark Scheifele to return next season, an update on Vincent Trocheck plus the latest collection of Capitals speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CHEVELDAYOFF DOESN’T EXPECT TO TRADE SCHEIFELE

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger reports Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expects Mark Scheifele will return with the club next season. The 29-year-old center made headlines in the Winnipeg media last month when he seemed to question his future with the club after missing the 2022 postseason.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Cheveldayoff said his exit interview with Scheifele went well, chalking up the center’s comments to the emotion of missing the playoffs. The long-time Jets forward has two years remaining on his contract.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Jets are better off retaining Scheifele than attempting to trade him. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on May 7 that the center hadn’t asked management to move him.

Despite a decline in Scheifele’s numbers over the past four seasons, O’Brien still believes it’s worthwhile retaining him for at least the coming season. His performance could improve under a new coach. If the Jets need to clear some cap space. O’Brien suggested moving a defenseman such as Nate Schmidt or Brenden Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets wouldn’t have any problem finding trade partners to take Scheifele off their hands. He’d be much easier to move than Schmidt or Dillon.

Most of the calls for a Scheifele trade were based on the Jets’ need to change a team culture that has eroded since their franchise-best 2017-18 season. Cheveldayoff could be betting on a new bench boss addressing that issue. Former New York Islanders coach (and Manitoba native) Barry Trotz recently interviewed with the Jets and could be just what’s required to reverse their fortunes.

If the problems persist next season, however, the calls for Scheifele (and perhaps other core players) will grow louder. Cheveldayoff might not have much choice by that point. Scheifele could force the issue by calling for a trade.

WILL TROCHECK RE-SIGN WITH THE HURRICANES?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported re-signing with the Carolina Hurricanes remains an option for Vincent Trocheck. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

The Hurricanes, however, might not be the best financial choice. Friedman said he’d heard the club made an offer to extend Trocheck but it didn’t get done. He pointed out that Hurricanes’ management rarely deviates from their view of a player’s value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trocheck is completing a six-year deal with an annual average value of $4.75 million. He’ll probably want something close to $6 million per season.

The Hurricanes could re-sign Trocheck but they might also seek a more consistent option through trade or free agency. Trocheck won’t be back if they acquire a second-line center before free agency opens on July 13.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Andrew Gillis recently listed the health of key players such as Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson among the big three questions facing the Washington Capitals in the offseason. Backstrom has been troubled by a nagging left-hip injury while Wilson could miss up to the first half of next season recovering from knee surgery.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber observed the Capitals could get some cap relief for next season by placing Backstrom and Wilson on long-term injury reserve. That would free up space to add an experienced starting goalie, a reliable top-six forward or more depth at center via trade or free agency.

If Backstrom were to miss significant time, Silber pondered whether Colorado’s Nazem Kadri would be a good fit if he becomes available on the free-agent market. She acknowledged there would be a cap crunch if Backstrom returned during the season after signing a player like Kadri. Silber also suggested Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin as a possible free-agent replacement for the sidelined Wilson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom’s cap hit for next season is $9.2 million while Wilson’s is $5.16 million. That’s a big chunk of change that the Capitals could free up if necessary by placing one or both on LTIR.

Backstrom could be the more likely LTIR candidate if he’s unable to play without pain going forward. He’d be all but retired by that point, alleviating any concern about a cap crunch by bringing in a replacement this summer through trade or free agency. It would be riskier if he has a timetable to return at some point next season should he undergo another offseason surgical procedure on his hip.

For now, there’s no clarity on Backstrom’s status. The Capitals really can’t make any significant moves based on his health until they determine for certain his status for next season.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 8, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 8, 2022

Could the Sharks shop Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns this summer? Has Mark Scheifele requested a trade from the Jets?

WILL THE SHARKS TRADE KARLSSON OR BURNS THIS SUMMER?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it appears there were some “very preliminary” trade talks this year involving San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and a couple of teams. He doesn’t believe those discussions got far but it seems the Sharks may recognize that having two elite, right-shot former Norris Trophy winners on their blueline hasn’t meshed as well as they’d hoped. That other defenseman, of course, is Brent Burns.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

The Sharks are currently searching for a new general manager after long-time GM Doug Wilson stepped down for health reasons earlier this year. They still wish to contend but carrying Karlsson and Burns may be a luxury they cannot continue to afford in a salary-cap world.

Friedman pointed out Burns has less term on his contract than Karlsson. He feels the Sharks will listen if a rival club makes an offer they like for one of them.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng last week also weighed in on the Sharks blueline with his takeaways of acting GM Joe Will’s remarks during his end-of-season press conference. He noted Will saying that players have choices, thoughts and prerogatives on where they are in their careers.

Peng noted that there were rumblings last summer suggesting Burns could be open to being traded to a contender. He also pointed out the long-time Sharks rearguard did little to quell that speculation during his exit interview.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are pressed for cap space next season with Cap Friendly showing them carrying over $73 million invested in 19 active players for 2022-23. That’s not counting any penalty they might receive if an arbitrator rules against them in Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over his contract termination in January.

Karlsson is signed through 2026-27 with an annual average value of $11.5 million and a full no-movement clause. Burns’ deal goes through 2024-25 with an $8 million annual cap hit and has a list of just three acceptable trade destinations.

Moving either guy this summer could prove difficult. The Sharks might be forced to retain some salary or take back a toxic contract to make it happen.

Karlsson and Burns aren’t the only defensemen the Sharks could part ways with during the offseason. There’s talk of buying out Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the remaining four years of his contract. Meanwhile, Radim Simek claims he got the runaround from management and the coaching staff when he questioned the decline in his playing time over the second half of the season.

WILL THE DEVILS TARGET FIALA IN THE OFFSEASON?

Jeff Marek reported the New Jersey Devils could target Kevin Fiala as GM Tom Fitzgerald looks to add an impact player in the offseason and is willing to shop his 2022 first-round pick. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild winger netted 85 points this season and Marek believes the Devils see him skating alongside fellow Swiss forward Nico Hischier.

The Wild face a salary-cap crunch after this season with over $12 million in dead cap space from last summer’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. That will make it challenging to sign Fiala as the 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Offering up that first-rounder could be enticing to Wild GM Bill Guerin if he knows he can’t afford to re-sign Fiala. The winger is completing a one-year, $5.1 million contract and is in line for a lucrative new deal.

If Fitzgerald can’t swing a trade, perhaps he’ll attempt to go the offer sheet route. Such moves are scarce and rarely successful but the Devils have the cap space to make it work provided Fiala is interested.

NO TRADE REQUEST FROM SCHEIFELE

Elliotte Friedman reports Mark Scheifele did not ask for a trade during his exit interview last week with Winnipeg Jets management. The 29-year-old center raises eyebrows earlier in the week with comments regarding his future. Friedman said we’ll see where everything goes in the offseason as the Jets have a lot of choices to make.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg pundits believe Scheifele could be on his way out while some Jets fans on social media have called for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to trade him. There’s a belief of a lack of accountability within the Jets’ dressing room over their disappointing performance this season.

Scheifele has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.125 million plus a 10-team no-trade list. While his defensive game draws criticism, his scoring will ensure he attracts plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff shops him this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2022

More speculation about the Jets plus an update on the Senators’ off-season plans in today’s NHL rumor mill.

JET GM CHEVELDAYOFF FACING A CHALLENGING SUMMER.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes how Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff proceeds with Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois will determine the club’s future.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Meeting with the media yesterday, Cheveldayoff said Scheifele, who made eyebrow-raising comments on Sunday about his future in Winnipeg, has not submitted a trade request nor have the two held an exit interview yet. The Jets GM also attempted to diffuse Scheifele’s comments, as well as those of several of his teammates over their frustration and disappointment about the team’s failure to reach the playoffs. He chalked them up to their competitive nature.

Wiebe believes Scheifele would draw plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff were to put the 29-year-old center on the trade block this summer. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $6.125 million.

Dubois, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a two-year, $10 million contract. Cheveldayoff met with the 23-year-old center yesterday and was encouraged by what he heard, though he added the contract negotiations will take time.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes this is a mess of Chevelodayoff’s making. With his new contract, he’s got three years to clean this up, suggesting the number of players making their frustrations public isn’t normal or healthy behavior.

McIntyre claims Scheifele isn’t the only player seeking an exit plan but he’s the only one to say so out loud. While he expects the center is likely a goner this summer, he also believes his frustration is a disturbing trend, citing the recent departures of several Jets including Dustin Byfuglien, Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, Jacob Trouba and Andrew Copp. He also pointed to head coach Paul Maurice’s unexpected resignation last December.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen called on Cheveldayoff to ship out Scheifele, citing the latter’s comments about the club’s plans and whether he fits within them. He also believes the Jets GM should hire a tough coach who will demand accountability from the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ woes appear tied to a broken culture within the dressing room that’s been ongoing for some time. Some of those earlier departures McIntyre mentioned could be put down to difficult contract negotiations. Some, like Laine, Roslovic and Trouba, weren’t happy with their roles with the clubs.

At the time Maurice stepped down as head coach, he claimed the team needed a new voice behind the bench. That suggests some of the core players may have been tuning him out while others could share the same concerns that led to some of those aforementioned departures.

Hiring a tougher coach could help provided he earns the players’ respect. As for trading Scheifele, he’s under contract for two more seasons. Cheveldayoff can afford to take his time to evaluate trade offers. Scheifele could return with the Jets next season unless he’s the main reason behind his teammates’ discontent. That could spur the Jets’ general manager to seek a trade sooner rather than later.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club won’t spend to the $82.5 million cap next season but they will increase their salary budget. He also indicated he’ll be starting contract talks soon with restricted free agent center Josh Norris. The club has also held contract discussions with defenseman Erik Brannstrom, who shares the same agent with Norris.

Dorion said he would like to bring in a player to help his young talent play meaningful games by the end of next season. That player could be acquired via trade or free agency. Dorion didn’t rule out the possibility of shopping his first-round pick in this year’s draft provided the Senators don’t win next Tuesday’s draft lottery and they remain seventh in the selection order.

Garrioch said it’s no secret the Senators would like to add a top-six right winger to skate alongside center Tim Stutzle. While promising young defenseman Jake Sanderson could become an impact player, they might want to add a little more support around him by acquiring a veteran blueliner.

The Senators could be among the clubs interested in Ottawa native Claude Giroux if he hits the open market this summer. Garrioch reports they’ve also been linked to Kevin Fiala but Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin could find a way to re-sign the pending restricted free agent winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Senators have $59.1 million invested in 14 active roster players for 2022-23 with Norris, Brannstrom and forward Alex Formenton as their notable restricted free agents. Re-signing those three could push their payroll closer to $69 million. They’ll still have room to add a veteran or two but they might be unable to chase someone like Giroux or Fiala if they’re not going to be a cap team next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2022

Mark Scheifele’s uncertain future with the Jets plus a roundup of recent Blackhawks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SCHEIFELE FACES AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE WITH THE JETS

WINNIPEG SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Scott Billeck and Mike McIntyre reports Mark Scheifele said he needed to know management’s vision for the Jets over the remaining two years of his contract.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Scheifele sounded frustrated during yesterday’s season-ending press conference. The 28-year-old center said he’s in the prime of his playing career and believes he’s improving all the time. However, he wants to know the club’s direction and what changes could be in store.

Completing his 11th season with the Jets, Scheifele said he’d love to be in Winnipeg. Nevertheless, he has to think about his career and what’s best for him and his family. He anticipates a “tough talk” with general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff during his end-of-season interview today.

Billeck and McIntyre believe Scheifele’s comments are the start of what could be a turbulent offseason for the Jets. While Cheveldayoff received a three-year contract extension yesterday, he will have a lot on his plate.

In addition to Scheifele’s future, there were reports of a divided dressing room and a lack of accountability throughout this season. A decision must be made whether to make interim head coach Dave Lowry the full-time bench boss or find a replacement. Center Pierre-Luc Dubois is a restricted free agent who’s in line for a lucrative new contract. Their defense corps also needs to be improved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele’s inconsistent performance this season and seeming indifference toward his defensive play sparked speculation he could become an offseason trade candidate. He didn’t come out and demand a trade yesterday but that could be in the cards if his meeting with Cheveldayoff goes sour or he disapproves of the GM’s offseason moves.

Expect speculation over Scheifele’s future to be a hot topic following the playoffs in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7 and 8. That’s usually the period when notable players like himself get traded as teams have more cap room and a willingness to make big moves in the trade market.

Trading Scheifele would be a significant shakeup of the roster core. It could also set the table for a big raise for Dubois.

RECENT BLACKHAWKS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis recently reported long-time Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said he’d had multiple conversations with general manager Kyle Davidson and expects to learn more about the club’s offseason plans following the end of the regular season.

Kane acknowledged his leadership role with the club could speed up its rebuild. He also enjoys the chemistry and relationship he’s built with winger Alex DeBrincat. The 33-year-old winger hopes the Blackhawks can follow the blueprint of the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers as they rebuilt on the fly and are playoff clubs this season.

Roumeliotis also wondered what the future holds for Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews as they both had one season remaining on their identical contracts. He pointed out the Blackhawks don’t have many tradeable assets to start a true rebuilding. Alex DeBrincat would fetch the best return but it would take a significant offer to convince Davidson to move the 24-year-old winger.

It remains to be seen if restricted free agent forward Dylan Strome will be back. Davidson must also address his goaltending after trading away Marc-Andre Fleury at the trade deadline. Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia are pending UFAs this summer.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reported that DeBrincat acknowledged this was a frustrating season for him. Nevertheless, he’s open to signing a contract extension with the Blackhawks. DeBrincat has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The futures of Kane and Toews have already sparked plenty of conjecture that will continue to grow between now and into July when business picks up in the trade market. Kane’s still-impressive offensive stats would draw considerable interest if Davidson tries to shop him.

However, moving Kane and/or Toews won’t be easy. Kane and Toews each carry hefty $10.5 million cap hits and full no-movement clauses.

DeBrincat hit 41 goals and 78 points this season. He’s a player the Blackhawks should be building around, especially if he’s interested in a contract extension. Then again, I said the same thing about Brandon Hagel before the trade deadline and he got shipped to Tampa Bay. Davidson could listen if someone makes a substantial offer for DeBrincat.

Davidson could keep Strome if he envisions rebuilding on the fly with the aim of reaching the playoffs in two or three years’ time. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be surprising if he becomes a trade candidate.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, the Jets could face offseason changes following the disappointing outcome of this season plus a look at some potential decisions facing the Red Wings.

CHANGES COULD BE COMING THIS SUMMER FOR THE JETS

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes the Winnipeg Jets must begin the process of repairing a winning culture that’s been in decline in recent years starting with their remaining games in this season. He feels the franchise’s foundation is showing cracks in need of repair.

The Jets have plenty of offensive skill but they’re not scoring on a consistent basis. They’re giving up too many quality scoring chances, they don’t defend well enough around their net while their special teams have struggled.

Wiebe feels some of those issues were papered over by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s play in recent years. However, they were exposed when he wasn’t playing at a Vezina-caliber level this season as the volume of shots and scoring chances against him increased.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck shares Wiebe’s concern that there are cracks in the Jets’ foundation. He pointed out that players such as Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny and Josh Morrissey have publicly admitted the team’s performance is not up to snuff, with Connor also admitting a culture change is needed.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (NHL.com).

Billeck believes that will be up to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff or his replacement if ownership decides a change is needed in the front office. It could also have an effect on contract talks with center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes it’s time for the Jets to conduct a full examination to address the malaise gripping the club. He wonders if that will be conducted by Cheveldayoff or his boss, Mark Chipman. The Jets owner has to be seeing the effects on the ice and in the stands, where the Jets are averaging 1,500 – 2,000 empty seats per game.

McIntyre also pondered the possibility of the Jets bringing in an experienced and sharp hockey mind from outside the organization as other clubs have done in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The focus of these pieces center on whether there will be changes in the front office after this season. Cheveldayoff’s been in the job since 2011. While he built them up into a Western Conference finalist in 2018, they’ve been steadily declining since then. Perhaps a change in management is necessary.

Whoever is the Jets general manager this summer must decide if a roster shakeup is required or if the problem could be addressed with a coaching change. Long-time bench boss Paul Maurice stepped down in December claiming the team needed a “new voice” to reach the next level. Assistant coach Dave Lowry took over on an interim basis but was no more successful than his predecessor.

Some roster changes could still be in order if the Jets replace Cheveldayoff and hire a new head coach. McIntyre has suggested moving out a couple of expensive veterans to clear roster and cap space for promising young defensemen such as Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola.

Center Mark Scheifele recently surfaced in the rumor mill as an offseason trade candidate. Some Jets fans would like to see captain Blake Wheeler replaced but his age (35), $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 and full no-movement clause makes that option difficult to achieve.

LATEST RED WINGS SPECULATION

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen and Bob Duff recently addressed some questions about the Red Wings’ future plans. They don’t see Jeff Blashill returning as head coach, with Allen saying he’s heard GM Steve Yzerman could look at some tough, demanding coaching candidates if he replaces Blashill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blashill’s been the Wings’ head coach for the past seven seasons. He couldn’t be faulted for most of the club’s struggles during the earlier years of its rebuild. However, they were expected to make significant improvement this season, perhaps even contend for a wild-card spot. Their second-half collapse amid ongoing concerns over their defensive play suggests it’s time for a fresh perspective behind the bench.

Allen and Duff both believe Yzerman’s roster priority is to bring in a second-line center. They also expect he’ll seek an experienced second-pairing defenseman. Possible forward options could include the New York Rangers’ Andrew Copp and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Vincent Trocheck via free agency. Duff’s also hearing Yzerman could target Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg if he hits the open market.

They also suggest Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina as trade candidates if the Wings don’t see them as part of their long-term plans. Bertuzzi is a year away from UFA status while Zadina is a restricted free agent this summer. They could retain the latter as they appreciate how hard he’s working to become a better player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman’s shown a willingness to make bold moves, first by shipping Anthony Mantha to Washington for Jakub Vrana at last year’s trade deadline and acquiring goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from Carolina last summer. I wouldn’t be shocked if he peddles Bertuzzi and/or Zadina to land that second-line center or second-pairing blueliner this summer.